[permaculture] BBC NEWS | Americas | Amazon damage 'worse than feared'
Lawrence F. London, Jr.
lfl at intrex.net
Thu Oct 20 22:51:57 EDT 2005
Last Updated: Friday, 21 October 2005, 01:24 GMT 02:24 UK
Amazon damage 'worse than feared'
By Simon Watts
An area deforested by soybean farmers is seen in Para, Brazil
Illegal logging has devastated large areas of Brazil's Amazon rainforest
Scientists from Brazil and the US say new research suggests
deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon has been underestimated by at
The team has completed a study using a more advanced technique of
satellite imagery that can pick up more types of logging activity.
These include selective logging, where loggers pick out trees of value
but leave the surrounding forest intact.
Brazil's government welcomed the report but said the figures were
Deforestation in the Amazon is on such a massive scale that the only way
of measuring it is by using satellites.
The trouble has been that while traditional aerial images can show areas
that have been completely destroyed, they do not reveal selective
logging of valuable trees such as mahogany.
Map of Amazon River
With input from the Nasa space agency, the joint US and Brazilian team
used an ultra-high-resolution technique to examine just how much
selective logging was going on.
They concluded that the area of rainforest destroyed between 1999 and
2002 was thousands of square kilometres bigger than previously thought.
They also found that about 25% more carbon had been released into the
atmosphere than estimated - possibly enough to affect climate change.
Brazilian officials praised the scientists for highlighting the issue of
selective logging, but said the new figures were hard to believe.
The businessmen involved in the practice claim picking out individual
trees is more environmentally friendly than the blanket clearance of
But environmental campaigners say that to reach the prized trees, roads
have to be built and heavy equipment brought in.
This, they say, can be of no benefit to the Amazon.
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